Tiscali Ranks Highest in Broadband Customer Satisfaction

Tiscali ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among eight of the leading broadband Internet service providers (ISPs) in the UK, with only 42 index points separating the highest-and lowest-scoring providers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 UK Broadband Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study released today.

Despite lower costs and a quicker broadband service being offered by providers, the study, now in its third year, reveals a continued downturn in customer satisfaction levels. Satisfaction levels have fallen by 9 points to an average of 645 as many providers perform below average in customer service/technical support, and performance and reliability.

“The 2007 study finds that call waiting times continue to increase when customers contact their ISP, with customers now waiting an average of 17 minutes before initially speaking with a representative,” said Caspar Tearle, director of service industries research at J.D. Power and Associates. “Complaints to customer service departments have risen again in 2007, and now outnumber customer service-related questions for the first time (52% vs. 48%). With customers of most suppliers paying from their own pocket for these calls, these high levels of complaints come as no surprise.”

The study also finds that, on average, broadband customers are now spending less for service—£21.10 per month, down from £25.91 in 2006. In addition, the average broadband speed has increased nearly 40 percent to 4.87Mbps (up from 3.50 Mbps in 2006), with service disruptions increasing slightly (from 5.62 in 2006 to 5.91 in 2007).

The study examines seven factors that drive overall satisfaction with broadband Internet service providers. The importance weights reflect what is most relevant to ISP customers. The factors are: performance and reliability (24%), customer service/technical support (17%); cost (13%); image (12%); billing (12%); e-mail services (12%); and offerings and promotions (9%).

With an overall index score of 668 points on a 1,000-point scale, Tiscali moves from ranking third in 2006 to rank highest in 2007. It is the only provider to achieve a score significantly above the industry average and performs particularly well in the billing factor, increasing by 30 points since 2006. Virgin Media (660) follows Tiscali in the rankings, having acquired both Telewest and NTL. Sky (657)—included in the study for the first time—follows Virgin Media and performs particularly well in the image and offerings and promotions factors.

The study results include the following key patterns:

More than two-thirds of respondents reported subscribing to services other than Internet service from their ISP, including home telephone, cable or satellite TV, or mobile phone. Among those customers currently not subscribing to any other services from their ISP, slightly fewer than one-half (46%) expressed an interest in doing bundling multiple services with the same provider.

Nearly one-half of all users (49%) now have wireless networks at home (up from 35% in 2006). Despite this increase, the incidence of customers having a firewall on their computers is down from 89 percent in 2006 to 85 percent in 2007.

More than three-fourths (77%) of respondents used an online search engine in the past 12 months, while more than two-thirds (70%) found maps/directions, conducted online banking (69%) or purchased products or services (69%).

The 2007 UK Broadband Internet Service Provider Study is based on responses from 1,683 Broadband ISP customers across the UK.